Have questions & concerns about cancer?
Don't keep them
The earlier you know, the better....
Simply put, the earlier that you react to possible changes in your body that may be related to the onset of disease, the better your chances of beating that disease -and with cancer it is especially important to tackle it asap. The earlier it is spotted, the better your chances of beating it. In the last 4 decades cancer survival rates have doubled and that's down to earlier diagnosis and better treatments but it could be better still as 1000s of us are still not acting on our suspicions that something be be wrong.
Signs & symptoms of cancer
There are over 200 different types of cancer, which means there can be many different symptoms – and with some cancers, especially in the early stages there are few or virtually no obvious signs at all. All of this means it's especially important for you to pay attention to your own body and any changes you may be experiencing. Everyone's body is different in some way or other, so if you know what is normal for you to start with, then any changes to this can be flagged to your doctor for investigation.
Remember, the earlier YOU take action to investigate, the better your chances when it comes to diagnosis, treatments and outlook for the future.
Notice Your Bodily Changes
Some tell-tale signs that all is not well with your prostate:
difficulty starting to urinate or emptying your bladder
a weak flow when you pee (urinate)
a feeling that your bladder hasn’t emptied properly
dribbling urine after you finish urinating
needing to urinate more often, especially at night
feeling like you're on top of something whilst sitting
a sudden urge to urinate – you may sometimes leak before you get to the toilet.
Prostate cancer signs & symptoms
The problem with prostate cancer is that in many cases, especially early on, it doesn't cause any obvious symptoms. One reason for this is the way the cancer grows. You’ll usually only get early symptoms if the cancer grows near the tube you urinate through (the urethra) and presses against it, changing the way you urinate (pee). But because prostate cancer usually starts to grow in a different part of the prostate, early prostate cancer doesn’t often press on the urethra and cause symptoms.
So, many problems relating to the prostate such as problems peeing can be caused by a different kind of prostate problem that is common and non-cancerous, called an enlarged prostate. These can be mild and happen over many years so men tend to disregard them as important but, regardless of this, it's a good idea to get any symptoms checked out as early as possible.
Useful tips for visiting the doctor
Before you go :
Think about what's been going on, for how long and how often
Write these down and take this with you
Include even things YOU think aren't important
Write down any questions you may have
At the doctor's :
Take something to write down information
Pass on your complete notes to the GP
Make sure you ask everything you want to know about
If you don't understand, ask them to explain it again
Don't be embarrassed about anything, they have seen and heard everything many times before
Frequently Asked Questions
When cancers are small they tend not to make you look or feel particularly poorly at all. So if you do spot any changes in the way your body works or feels, it is really important to get them checked by your GP as soon as you notice them. You may not think they are serious enough to bother your doctor but, if left unchecked, many symptoms can become serious very quickly indeed.
If your symptoms are still around and haven't cleared, or, have changed or even got worse you doctor will want to know all about it. Medical professionals need this information to help them diagnose what is going on with your body so they can help you get the appropriate care when it's needed. Stubborn symptoms require stubborn determination from you to deal with them.
It's only natural to feel worried about what medical examinations may find or uncover. In fact, even just the initial investigations can be troublesome and intimidating for many but it's totally normal to feel like that. But, just like most problems in life, it's much better to deal with it early on, rather than let it get to a point where it can't be dealt with.
No-one ever is comfortable with it, at least to start with and in an ideal world we would never have to experience it but it must be stressed that doctors have already seen & heard just about everything that you could possibly perceive. Every single thing you can imagine -and even more that you can't!- they have already experienced and all they are thinking about is helping to understand your signs and symptoms so they can arrive at a diagnosis and then get you the correct treatment.
Various things should be followed up, such as:
Something like a croaky voice/mouth ulcer or a sore area that won't go away or lasts longer than 3 weeks. Unexplained aches/pains or unusual lumps or swelling anywhere on your body. Breathlessness/difficulty swallowing or coughing up blood. Unexplained weight loss, very heavy night sweats or a change in the appearance of a mole. Changes to your toilet habits including blood in either your pee or poo.
If you have any of these symptoms they are most likely to be caused by something else, something that is less serious than cancer but you still need to get to see your doctor as soon as possible. Once your doctor can examine you and discuss what's been going on properly he can then ascertain exactly what the problem is and get you on the right path for the right treatment. Remember, it doesn't have to be cancer to be serious, so don't delay, see you doctor today.